Great News for RBHS!

From RBHS:

"Rainier Beach High School Communities In Schools Site Coordinator Xaila Lewis has won one of six 2011 Communities In Schools Unsung Heroes Awards. This award was created to publicly celebrate the amazingly dedicated individuals who bring to life CIS’ core values. The tenets of personal commitment, accountability, persistence, equality and coordination have driven CIS’ work for 30 years. Although hard-working and passionate people populate our network at all levels, it is site coordinators who personally connect with the kids every day, and prove that it is indeed people, and their unique gift of building life-giving relationships with kids, that transform lives. Members of our national staff and board of directors were moved by the persistence and dedication with which they face the challenge of their job. 

The award will be presented at a celebratory event held this fall in the Washington D.C area."

Now I didn't know what a site coordinator was so I asked and Ms. Lewis was kind enough to reply.

"My position is funded by the Full Service Community School (FSCS) grant through the Dept. of Ed. The grant was awarded to Seattle Public Schools to be initiated at Rainier Beach and Cleveland. The purpose of the grant is to bring a community school initiative to RBHS. Community Schools is a national movement and can be defined as the coordination of services to create a system of support that meet the whole needs of students.  I came on to the project in 2008, and started at RBHS in January '09.

The organization I work with defines services as Level 1 (also referred to as "universal" or open to all students) and Level 2 (also referred to as "targeted" or tailored to individual needs). Some examples of Level 1 services provided at RBHS are college and career fairs, school supplies provided to all students, and a drop-in Homework Center where adult volunteers assist students in completing homework and prepare for tests. Some examples of Level 2 services include peer groups, counseling, mentorship, and individual meetings with students where needs can be assessed.

Even though our students at RBHS face sometimes insurmountable systemic barriers, their strength, tenacity, and spirit is what drives me to continue every day. I know the work I do is only a drop in a bucket of what needs to be done to make sure our students succeed in school and life, but I truly and sincerely believe they need as many adults in their lives telling them they can succeed and providing tools and resources, and that is what I've resolved to do."

Congratulations to Ms. Lewis and her lucky students at RBHS.  

(Sorry for the funky look - I did a quick cut-and-paste.)


seattle citizen said…
I second the congratulations! Critical work being done by dedicated citizens to bring needed services and supplies to our children. In the community, in the school....that's JUST the way is shoud be done!
Thank you, Xaila, and all others doing this work!
Michael Rice said…
I worked with Xai for several years and this award is richly deserved and well earned.
Rainier Beach students and families could not succeed w/out the services provided by CIS and Xai LOVES the students. Congratulations!
CONGRATULATIONS Xai! RBHS is a truly blessed to have such a dedicated unsung hero in their midst.

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